I was walking down Boston’s Mass Ave between Newbury and Boylston earlier when I noticed two women running at me at a fast clip. Just as I had learned in elementary school, I was walking all the way to the right side of the walkway with oncoming pedestrians to my left and in this case the street and oncoming cars, buses and trucks to my right. In this country, traffic works the same way; we drive on the right side of the road. As they were running side-by-side and were coming directly at me, they left me 2 choices: jump into the street and risk being hit by a car or stand my ground and hope that they would have the decency to either stop or get out of my way. I folded my arms in front of me to take up less space and stopped to give them more of an opportunity to get out of my way. Nevertheless, a bony spandex wearing Back Bay white woman with god on her side slammed right into my ribcage. As I turned, I noticed these angry women glaring back at me as if I was at fault. Was I? Does exercising give you a certain moral edge or even just the right-of-way?
Oh, I just thought of the answer: NO! First off, don’t run down the busiest streets in the city. Second, if you’re running on a busy street with a running partner, have some courtesy and run in a single line. And third, go back to elementary school and learn to stay to the right. The whole fabric of our society depends on us understanding and abiding by this tiny lesson or we’d spend all day slamming into eachother.
I am often annoyed by bicyclists that ride down sidewalks or down a one-way streets the wrong way, etc. They would argue, however, that with a lack of bike paths and bike lanes, they have no choice but to improvise with their commute. Runners, on the other hand, have many choices and it would seem that running down busy streets and large avenues with lots of traffic lights is counter productive to their exercise regimen. Let me give you a little hint: Don’t run on Newbury Street or Boylston Street or the Back Bay part of Mass Ave or down Hanover Street in the North End. Try running by the Charles or through the Fens or down the Commonwealth Ave mall or DOWN ANY SIDE STREET NEAR THE AFOREMENTIONED NO-FLY ZONES!!!! I assure you that you’ll encounter fewer hard working people trying to get home after a long day–and by encounter I mean unapologetically slam into.
In case you need some visuals…
Good AND close to where you checked me with your bony shoulder.
PS: I also understand that you run into less people on treadmills.